Question quad core vs 8 core

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Check 6, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Check 6 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #1
    I will admit that I don't fully understand as much as I would like to but as some know my 2.93 quad core Mac Pro is being replaced ( Apple found it to be beyond reasonable cost to repair). They are replacing it with an 8 core new unit with two 2.4 processors. So the question is this a realistic up grade, down grade or a neutral swap. I said I don't understand everything I should
     
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #2
    Upgrade if multithreaded is your workflow. Downgrade for everything else.

    Geekbench 32-bit:
    2.93GHz Quad: 9112
    2.4GHz 8-core: 12940

    Read through this and you'll get a better idea. It is kind of slower more than 80% of the time in real world.
    http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-MacProWestmere-Photoshop-diglloydSpeed1.html

    I don't know if I'd complain though. You now have a dual socket tray that can, for a price, be upgraded to 2x 6-cores at higher clocks if you ever wanted.
     
  3. jablko macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Location:
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    #3
    Even if the operation you're running only uses one core, for many of us, the more cores still result in a speed increase. Looking at my dock, I currently count nine different programs running, add to that the OS and background services, and when I go to Activity Monitor, I count 58 processes right now. So even if a task isn't built to take advantage of multi-core CPUs, distributing all those processes between cores may often increase overall speed. Also, the number of programs that don't take advantage of multiple cores is getting fewer and fewer.

    I'm guessing they are offering you the model closest to the price you originally paid. If clock speed is more important than core count for the software you use, you might try asking them to give you the single cpu, six core, 3.33ghz Westmere which is not that different in price at base configuration than the 2.4 eight core model.
     
  4. derbothaus, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #4
    You don't finish anything faster with more cores if the app can't take advantage of them. You could presumably get more done at the same time at the same speed. But not any faster. If you are referring to multitasking at more or less human speed (like time is money and I can do more with more) memory is more important than cores (mostly those 9 apps you have open are just eating RAM and idle). You are also assuming that the kernel is a perfect job allocation device which it isn't. It does not always automatically balance load across the cores. Nice theory though. You would do well to read through the macperformanceguide link I posted above. Lot's of good info and real world and synthetic benchmarks in various configurations.
     
  5. thekev, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #5

    I answer questions on this crap from time to time (in person). Edited to clarify I wasn't contradicting your statement. The issue is even with applications that do scale well, much of the time not everything scales that well and it can vary from function to function. In the end what matters is that your computer doesn't choke under your workload, and longer tasks don't hold you up whenever it's preventable. The 6 core is quite a good balance. If you need more than 16 GB of ram for any reason, 8GB dimms have come down in price considerably. Some of our options have become a bit awkward as the mac pros don't always balance core count and clock speed well. More gpu options such as NVidia options would also be nice.

    Sometimes I really don't understand Apple when it comes to hardware choices. There are a lot of little improvements they could make without driving costs way up. I don't really suggest a new mac pro to anyone today. If it's a good deal used it's a better buy. The reason is that I have to wonder how long the 2009 to 2010 ones will be supported. They use the same board, and that board came out three years ago. Obviously it'll see mountain lion. I would guess they'll make it to one past mountain lion.
     
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #6
    Truly. As I am starting to feel real bad about the impending Photoshop CS6 speed differences between OS X and Windows if Apple does not allow supported CUDA on OS X. It will be an embarrassing advantage to Windows users and the 1 thing Apple always sold Mac's for won't be able to compete. All out of Apple spite for a few bad chips years ago. Maybe CS6 is OpenCL as well but I doubt it as they are an incredibly lazy company historically and just leveraging CUDA from mercury is most likely all they are doing. Hopefully though I can shut my face and we get a GTX680 option with full support.
     
  7. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #7
    This is something that's always annoyed me. You just kind of take whatever Apple is willing to build. Right now the gpu functions of photoshop kind of suck. It won't make a big difference what you use assuming it's not crippled by bugs. 2D drawing isn't typically that brutal on a gpu anyway. The math functions are a lot more basic.

    This guy describes another of my irritations with Adobe. It's nice to know someone agrees with me:D. Adobe never seems to get anything 100% right. Their 3d tools are bleh (they're there, but nothing is really worth using). It took years to gain illustrator like paths with appropriate anti aliasing. Their inspiration often seems to come from motivating people to upgrade from Elements to the full version. They consistently miss the mark in a lot of areas. After many years, pen pressure still doesn't work well no matter how much I tweak settings. Supposedly that is being addressed with CS6. Also after effects has superior 32 bit editing to photoshop, which is weird. They really are a very boring company.

    Just in general Apple and Intel have been coming up with awkward combinations. Looking at the OP's question again, a few years ago such situations were less common. Now the high end is often more cores but with lower clock speeds. If I wasn't using OSX I'd be tempted to go something like the boxx route, fewer cores, overclocked with lots of :cool:ing. The gains aren't always there with high core counts, especially when they come with such a tradeoff. I mean you can see why the 6 core is popular. It's the highest core count that doesn't sacrifice individual core speed. Trying to determine what is better than what can be super annoying when you're trying to figure out what percentage of the time x application is taking advantage of more cores.

    Okay ... end rant.
     

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